Asparagus Soup with a Confit of Peppers & Asparagus Tips


Asparagus soup:
4 tablespoons extra light olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds asparagus (Peel the spears and cut into ½-inch slices; set the tips aside, reserving half for the confit.)
½ cup sherry
6 cups chicken broth
¾ cup sour cream, for garnish
6 small sprigs fresh dill, cut into small pieces, for garnish

Confit of peppers and asparagus tips:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup asparagus tips, cut in half
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons softened butter
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon truffle oil (optional, for an extra kick)

Suggested Wine Pairing: Artesa Carneros Pinot Noir


Serves 6 to 8

Confit of Peppers & Asparagus Tips:

Cook the olive oil over high heat until it sizzles, then lower the heat to medium-low. Add the shallot, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes, then add the peppers and the asparagus, and mix together. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring well, for 2 more minutes.

Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes, and stir well for 1 minute. Then add the brandy and cook 1 more minute.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the butter, and stir well until completely melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the optional truffle oil, stirring well before serving.

Set aside and keep warm until ready to use.

Asparagus Soup:

In a stockpot, heat the extra light tasting olive oil over high heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, carrots, thyme and red pepper flakes to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring well, until the onions begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the asparagus pieces and half of the tips.

Add the sherry, bring to a boil, and stir well to dislodge the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Cook until the sherry is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring well every 15 minutes. Add the soup, in batches, to a food processor and process it to a smooth, cream-like consistency. Strain, place the soup back in the stockpot, and keep warm.

Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with sour cream and fresh dill. Decorate with the confit of peppers and asparagus tips.